Travel & Business Expenses

(All procurement and reimbursable expenses must comply with Washington University's Business Expense Policy)

Guidance for Employees

Travel Advances

Travel Advances are rarely required since the University can reimburse pre-travel expenses as they occur. However, if necessary, the option to issue funds up to 30 days before travel is still available. If a Travel Advance is needed, please submit your request and justification to Marcia Holleran and/or Seth Davis.

Travel Reimbursement

Pre-travel expenses should be submitted within 15 days and no more than 60 days from the transaction date. Travel expenses should be submitted within 15 days of the trip’s completion. Although it is good practice, it is no longer necessary for all travel expenses to be on the same expense report. With approval, Travel Advances may be issued 30 days before travel (see Travel Advances, above).

Supporting Documentation

Reimbursements may only be issued with valid supporting documentation. See Financial Service’s Supporting Documentation page for a more complete explanation. For ease of use, please submit receipts as PDF files. If using a mobile device to photograph the receipt, please crop out unnecessary backgrounds before submitting or converting to PDF. Although travel reports are digital, please keep physical copies of receipts until your travel expense report is approved in case there is a problem with the digital documentation.

Additional Guidance

Guidance for Travel on Sponsored Funds (PDF)

On Airfare – Consult Financial Services’ Airfare page for rules and requirements. Travel to international destinations on federal funds requires compliance with the Fly America Act. This requires travelers funded by the U.S. government to use an American carrier service to/from the United States. Foreign carriers may be used between two points outside the U.S., if American carriers are not available, or if American carriers would cause long delays. Foreign air carriers can be used under certain circumstances according to Open Skies Agreements. Travel arrangements involving Open Skies Agreements should be discussed with Marcia Holleran or Seth Davis to get confirmation from Sponsored Projects beforehand.

On Alcoholic Beverages -- Alcoholic beverages, in any quantity, whether consumed with meals or between meals, are not allowable charges to any Federal grant or contract. University funds require the Chair’s approval for this expense.

On Insurance – In most cases, the University will not reimburse the cost of insurance. Consult the Insurance and Risk Management page for more information.

On International Travel - All university sponsored or supported international travel must record travel itineraries via MyTrips. See the Global Engagement page for details about the MyTrips registry and other travel resources. See also On Airfare (above) for international airfare guidelines.

On Mileage -- Consult the Mileage Reimbursements page for rules and requirements needed to claim mileage.

On Per Diem Meals – An alternative to meal receipts, travelers may document and claim Per Diem during travel. Please consult the Per Diem Expense Method page for rules and documentation requirements.

On Shared Expenses -- Reimbursements will be faster if expenses are not shared among travelers. If sharing expenses (e.g., lodging, meals, and car rental), travelers should be advised that no report can be approved until ALL traveler expense reports have been turned in. Shared expenses must be cross-referenced, with the names of the individuals involved and, if sharing dinner expenses, all individuals will need to be named on the receipt and will compromise Per Diem eligibility.

On Unallowable Costs – Many categories of expenses are not allowed on federally sponsored funds. Consult the Unallowable Costs page for additional information.

Guidance for Students

Consult the Student Resources & Forms page for information on student travel and travel support.

Student Resources & Forms

Guidance for Visitors

Visitors may submit approved travel expenses for reimbursement.
However, to issue reimbursement, a completed and signed IRS Form W-9 or Form W-8BEN must be on file, along with an Electronic Funds Transfer Agreement if requesting electronic reimbursement (otherwise a physical check will be mailed).